Best of Both Worlds: Classic Art Gets a High-Tech Show

Fine art has always been just a bit mysterious. Not only is the skill needed to create such masterpieces beyond most of us, but the vast majority of us will never get to see the world’s greatest artworks up close. The Haltadefinizione Project is helping with the latter problem by making ultra-high-definition versions available of the greatest art pieces of all time.

The project uses sophisticated digital imaging techniques to bring out the kind of details that previously only art restorers had access to. The unprecedented project gives art lovers a chance to see the paintings they have always admired, but in a whole new way. Parts of the classic paintings which could easily escape notice even when viewing them in person are suddenly revealed in remarkable detail.

Currently, only a handful of paintings are available for viewing on Haltadefinizione’s website. They range from the extremely well-known (Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus) to the less famous but just as amazing (Pontormo’s Deposition, Church of Santa Felicita and Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonor of Toledo).

The advanced technology used to make the images available online allows one to zoom in for extreme close-ups – close enough that individual brush strokes can be identified and centuries’ worth of cracks in the paint can be counted. Waiting for the images to load requires a bit of patience, but seeing these timeless works of art so closely is definitely worth the wait.

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See more in Digital Design or under Technology. November, 2010.